That’s right. I’m allergic to traffic. As the Erin Andrews Hidden Camera Video story spreads, a number of prominent commentators have revealed sensibilities that have ranged from the downright thoughtful to the predictably dopey. While Newsday’s Neil Best carefully plays it down the middle (“what made this case unusual was that much of the angst has come from sports blogs, which usually offer seemingly harmless, fraternity-style fun aimed at young males who enjoy watching sports and young females”) (for the first and only time in history, feel free to imagine Best as Hugh Hefner), Sports Media Watch‘s thoroughly reasonable Paulsen opines, “to such people, Andrews is not a person. Instead, she is merely a body that exists for the sole purpose of leering at.” And with that, SMJ holds the sports blogosphere’s (apparently) narrow demographic accountable for fostering an environment where affording Andrews such treatment was considered the norm (at least until an aspiring Chuck Berry put a video camera in her toilet).
Fang’s Bites notes that “Many sports bloggers myself included liked posting pictures of Erin. And it was nice that Erin played along with us.” While Andrews should not be blamed for the actions of others — after all, she isn’t the one who took those pictures or videos — perhaps the lesson here is to not play along. Maybe the next step is to not accept this objectification as normal, the nature of the beast, or a case of boys being boys. Ignore it if one must, but don’t give what ends up being perceived as tacit approval.
Bloggers and mainstream writers will no doubt come out in the next several days to blast the video, and justifiably. And as sincere as those sentiments may be, they will still come off as somewhat hypocritical. While nobody would approve of the crime against Andrews, there are countless who are culpable in creating the atmosphere in which it occurred.
Perhaps feeling the sting of the above words, Deadspin’s Will Leitch — no doubt wondering if sports blogging ought to be mentioned on future resumes — declared, “this is awful for anyone who has ever written or said anything about Erin Andrews, ever.”
It’s all just kind of dissembling now, isn’t it? People who took photos of themselves smiling with Andrews on the sideline feel guilty, ESPN feels guilty, bloggers feel guilty, everybody feels guilty except the scumbag who shot the video in the first place. (I am ascribing this person with the inability to feel empathy.) The whole thing went wrong, very wrong. I do not think there is direct causality here … at all. But it’s not so wakka-wakka all-in-fun anymore, isn’t it? Even if we all feel comfortable that we were above board, if we scoffed at those other sites who were cruder and uglier, that part is over. No one feels good about it.
I have never met Erin Andrews. If I ran into her on the street today … I’m not sure I could look her in the eye. I’m not sure anybody could.
Really? I mean, I think I’ve seen more than enough pics of Ms. Andrews on Deadspin that I think I’d recognize her if I ran into her on the street. And while said event would be no more or less remarkable than watching Kevin Burkhardt eat lunch, I don’t think I’d share the Godfather Of Sports Blogging’s intense shame. Everyone doesn’t feel guilty, Will. There’s no shortage of persons who neither pandered to meatheads or gave a minor talent like Andrews much more than a passing thought. But if Lou Piniella feels a slight pang of regret, that’s totally understandable.